Coaches Handbook – Establishing a Strong Foundation

Last week we kicked off (no pun intended) a Coaches Handbook series, beginning with Creating the Culture.  This week’s big play focuses on building a strong foundation.  Think for a moment what it would be like if a football team had no predefined plays.  The players would line up and on the snap of the ball chaos would ensue because no one would know for certain the plan.  They would know the goal is to drive the ball toward the end zone; yet getting there could be ugly.  Your employees WANT direction and guidance!  They want a set of policies and guidelines to serve as their personal playbook for navigating the field of your company. 

Here are some things to keep in mind:

    1. Review your company handbook (don’t have one, create one now!). 
    2. Make certain the handbook includes your company’s mission, vision, and strategic values, which are guidelines to aid employees in their daily decision making and behaviors  (Example – Respectfulness could be a strategic value – that you want employees at all time to be respectful of others in their words and actions).
    3. Clearly outline holiday, vacation, bereavement, sick time policies, as well as other employee benefits.
    4. Include information about how you handle performance appraisals and salary increases
    5. Information about dress codes, whistle-blowing, social media usage during work hours, drug and alcohol policies, etc. should also be included.
    6. Include guidelines for working overtime, working offsite, inclement weather policies, break times, etc.    

      Your handbook should clearly state the expectations you have of them as a representative of your company.  Most importantly, your actions as a leader should exemplify the guidelines outlined in your book.  As the coach, you set the tone for your team.  Make certain your practices match your policies. 

      Another important component to keep in mind when you are creating your playbook for your foundation is ACCOUNTABILITY.  Your playbook is meaningless if your players aren’t held accountable for the expectations and guidelines you have shared with them, as well as the things they said they will do within the timeframe they said they were going to do them.  This doesn’t mean that you don’t want employees to be creative and take risks; it means that you expect them to play the game the way you have outlined it and if they don’t, they need to understand the consequences.  Consistency and follow-through are key for coaching a winning foundation. 

      What is one of your winning strategies for ensuring your employees are held accountable to your company’s policies?  Share your response on my LinkedIn page by Sept. 26 and receive a  download of a FREE report: Uncover the Errors LURKING in Your Employee Handbook.

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